Senate Judiciary Panel Leaders to Introduce Patent Reform Bill
By Andrew Ramonas | January 21, 2022 12:56 pm

Bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee leaders said they will introduce legislation next Tuesday to provide the most significant updates to the U.S. patent system in almost six decades.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and incoming Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), along with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), will offer changes to the patent system they say are intended to streamline the patent process, improve patent quality and better protect inventors.

The Patent Reform Act of 2011 will resemble legislation the panel worked on in the last Congress — which itself was based on a patent reform bill introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) in 2006.

“Patent reform is a commonsense, bipartisan effort to protect jobs and bolster the economy,” Leahy said in a statement. “The Patent Reform Act of 2011 is the product of years of careful consideration and compromise. Promoting economic growth continues to be a top priority for both Democrats and Republicans, and patent reform is part of that effort.”

Leahy is looking to move quickly on the bill. The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman placed the bill on his panel’s agenda for its meeting next Thursday.

The bill modified by the Senate Judiciary Committee last year received the backing of the Barack Obama administration and others, including the United Steelworkers, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Association of Universities and the National Venture Capital Association. But the Patent Reform Act of 2011 will likely face opposition, as its predecessor did.

“We will reserve judgment until we see the final bill, but if it’s anything like the last one, we will oppose it,” Mark Isakowitz, who runs the Coalition for Patent Fairness, which includes companies including Intel Corporation, Oracle Corporation and Google Inc., told the National Journal’s Tech Daily Dose blog Thursday prior to the release of the bill’s text.


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